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Family, friends hold memorial to remember Bakari Henderson

An+attendee+of+the+Eller+School+of+Managements+vigil+for+Bakari+Henderson%2C+a+recent+UA+graduate+who+passed+away.+An+open+letter+from+the+Henderson+family+stated+that+their+goal+was+to+keep+Bakaris+story+alive.
Marisa Favero
An attendee of the Eller School of Management’s vigil for Bakari Henderson, a recent UA graduate who passed away. An open letter from the Henderson family stated that their goal was to keep Bakari’s story alive.

Bakari Henderson’s family held a candlelight vigil on the night of Friday, Oct. 27 in the courtyard of McClelland Hall at the University of Arizona.

Bakari graduated from the UA in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in business finance and entrepreneurship. In July, he went to the Greek island of Zakynthos to work on a photo shoot to launch his own clothing line. 

On July 7, he went to the bar and was later killed by a group of men.

Jill Henderson, Bakari’s mother, started planning the candlelight vigil six weeks ago. She flew in from Texas on Thursday with her husband and two other children to attend the event. 

          RELATED: Recent UA grad beaten to death in Greece

Bakari’s favorite color was purple, and the vigil was decorated accordingly. The tree in the center of the courtyard was lit by a vibrant, purple light and everyone was given a purple wristband to wear.

The wristbands, with the inscription “In Loving Memory Of Bakari Henderson 7-7-17,” were more significant than the other purple decorations. 

“The idea with the wristbands is for when you are traveling, [you] take a picture and post it on the ‘Travel with Bakari’ Facebook page so that his love for travel and adventure will live on,” Jill said.

An open letter from the Henderson family stated that their goal was to keep Bakari’s story alive. The wristbands are one of the projects his family has worked on, but Jill said it holds special significance.

“It is actually further than that, it is more of a legacy for him,” she said.

The release of Bakari’s first clothing design is also in the works. “We are totally going off of the notes that we saw in Bakari’s laptop,” Jill said. “He laid a good foundation.”

The Henderson family has also set up a prayer line for Bakari Henderson led by the family’s pastor, Ricky Jones. Oct. 31 will be the third consecutive Tuesday the prayer line will be active. To participate, the family asks that you call 641-552-9241 at 7 p.m. and use the access code: 793205. 

The candlelight vigil had four speakers: two friends, a UA lecturer and a local pastor.

Adam Lambert, one of Bakari’s friends, remembered the impact Bakari had on him.  “Bakari had a core ideal that you had nothing to lose by trying new experiences,” Lambert said.

That bit of wisdom later pushed Lambert to conquer his fear of falling from heights, as he eventually went bungee jumping. 

Another friend, Kevin Edwards, praised Bakari’s uplifting spirit. In particular, he remembered one of the last things Bakari said to him, after a series of missed shots during a basketball session. “Just keep shooting.” 

          RELATED: Remembering a sister: UA community honors the life of Christiana Duarte

Edwards said those words will stick with him for the rest of his life.

“Bakari had a presence. When he would walk into a classroom, he didn’t have to say anything, but I knew he was there.” Mark Peterson, one of Bakari’s lecturers, said.

The vigil was full of emotion. Many cried, and gentle laughs were heard after fun stories were exchanged. After the candles were lit and the final prayer was over, many alumni who knew Bakari took turns approaching his parents. It was evident that he meant a lot to many people.

“He loved the Wildcat community,” said Jill Henderson. “So we are just honored to be able to come back to a place he remembered so fondly.”


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